Developing a training program and the associated materials can be a tedious task. And it’s tempting for efficiency-minded training staff to avoid doing unnecessary work by recycling those materials year after year.
While it probably doesn’t make sense to completely reinvent the wheel each time a company trains a new batch of employees or refreshes existing employees, it can be a big mistake to let training materials get stale.
When having a “refresher” course for existing employees, showing them the same presentation they saw last year and that they know they will see next year is a great way to ensure low levels of engagement. And for new employees, information that seems outdated and overly rehearsed is not going to stick well.
Your competitors aren’t sitting still. Neither is your industry. Neither are the national and global economies. Your company hopefully isn’t sitting still either. So, why let your training remain static?
Not all industries change as fast as others, but all do change. Whether there are new laws and regulations, new consumer demands or new technology, using training materials from 5 years ago to train employees for today’s (let alone tomorrow’s) business environment is doing them a disservice.
Review and Iterate
In general, it’s not necessary to completely replace all of your existing training material on a regular basis. Oftentimes, an annual or quarterly review by the training team and relevant managers and subject matter experts is enough to find areas that need to be updated, removed, added, or clarified. Sometimes, there may be great real-life examples that have occurred since the last update that can be incorporated into the training to help bring it closer to home.
On occasion, however, it may be necessary to completely scrap, replace, or add an entire training topic. This often doesn’t happen overnight, but changing technologies and business environments might render some topics obsolete and require that new ones be addressed.
It can take a lot of time and effort to develop solid training materials, but it doesn’t mean that they will last a lifetime. It’s important to continuously review and update all aspects of a training program to ensure they remain relevant, fresh, and in touch with the current environment.